Adaptationism: Hypothesis or heuristic? [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 12 (1):39-50 (1997)

Elliott Sober (1987, 1993) and Orzack and Sober (forthcoming) argue that adaptationism is a very general hypothesis that can be tested by testing various particular hypotheses that invoke natural selection to explain the presence of traits in populations of organisms. In this paper, I challenge Sobers claim that adaptationism is an hypothesis and I argue that it is best viewed as a heuristic (or research strategy). Biologists would still have good reasons for employing this research strategy even if it turns out that natural selection is not the most important cause of evolution.
Keywords adaptationism  natural selection  heuristics
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Reprint years 1996, 1997
DOI 10.1023/A:1017936706537
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References found in this work BETA

The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Popper - 1959 - Studia Logica 9:262-265.
Discovering Complexity.William Bechtel, Robert C. Richardson & Scott A. Kleiner - 1996 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 18 (3):363-382.
Social Empiricism.Miriam Solomon - 1994 - Noûs 28 (3):325-343.
Adaptation and Evolutionary Theory.Robert N. Brandon - 1978 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 9 (3):181.
Progress or Rationality? The Prospects for Normative Naturalism.Larry Laudan - 1987 - American Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1):19 - 31.

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Citations of this work BETA

Design Sans Adaptation.Sara Green, Arnon Levy & William Bechtel - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):15-29.
A Verisimilitudinarian Analysis of the Linda Paradox.Gustavo Cevolani, Vincenzo Crupi & Roberto Festa - 2012 - VII Conference of the Spanish Society for Logic, Methodology and Philosphy of Science.

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